A Virginia Beach schoolteacher running for Congress who posted an online video sawing apart an AR-15 rifle is now under investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to ABC 13 News.
Karen Mallard (D) says she destroyed the rifle, the kind used in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting last month, to take “a personal stand for gun safety,” and handed the weapon over to the police after filming the video.
On Thursday, Virginia Beach Police said they had received the gun and were waiting for it to be picked up by the bureau, which investigates the illegal use of firearms, explosives and other illicit substances.
Critics of the video have suggested that the progressive candidate may have violated the law under Virginia legislation that prohibits rifles modified to be less than 26 inches.
On Twitter, Mallard blamed “right wing trolls” for a “coordinated effort” using “error-filled talking points” from the National Rifle Association to accuse her of breaking the law, which she denies.
“We own the gun so we destroyed it and took it straight to the police department and dropped it off. I wanted there to be one less gun and to do something about gun violence,” Mallard told local media.
While Mallard told the local CBS affiliate WTKR that she knew “exactly” what she was doing in the video and that the gun was “inoperable” before she took a handheld saw to the barrel, one local attorney told the station that the act made the weapon illegal.
Mallard is running to face incumbent Rep. Scott Taylor (R) in the congressional election.
Numerous federal lawmakers have called for tighter gun control measures after the Parkland shooting, where a 19-year-old has been charged 17 students and faculty with the assault-style weapon.